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Ask Slashdot: How To Bequeath Sensitive Information? 208

New submitter UrsaMajor987 (3604759) writes I recently retired after a long career in IT. I am not ready to kick the bucket quite yet, but having seen the difficulty created by people dying without a will and documenting what they have and where it is, I am busy doing just that. At the end of it all, I will have documentation on financial accounts, passwords, etc., which I will want to share with a few people who are pretty far away. I can always print a copy and have it delivered to them, but is there any way to share this sort of information electronically? There are lots of things to secure transmission of data, but once it arrives on the recipients' desktop, you run the risk of their system being compromised and exposing the data. Does anyone have any suggestions? Is paper still the most secure way to go?
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Ask Slashdot: How To Bequeath Sensitive Information?

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  • by cbelt3 ( 741637 ) <cbelt@y[ ] ['aho' in gap]> on Thursday June 19, 2014 @02:46PM (#47274833) Journal

    I keep an encrypted online database of my passwords. Sort of. I use a 'modular' password. One word is different, the other is always the same. So in my will I have the same word (and it's l33t combinations) written down, along with the address of the database. So anyone dealing after my death will know ALL my codes. My wife of 30+ years also keeps a copy of it, and knows the super secret codes.

    I started this after being in a coma, and my wife having to deal with my PDA bleeping about meetings to her until the battery died. Which made her cry even more.

  • How I Am Doing It (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DERoss ( 1919496 ) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @04:45PM (#47276037)

    First of all, I assume you are serious and not trolling (as some others who replied have asserted).

    My son died in April of 2013. He lived with cancer for four years and then took four months to die. During that time, he ignored my pleas to create an estate plan with an attorney. I am still trying to unravel his estate. Divorced and without a will, his son (my grandson) is his sole heir. My grandson is 6 years old. After my son died, it was too late to create a trust for my grandson. Instead, I had to go to court (several hundreds of dollars in court fees, legal fees, and even appraisal fees) to be appointed the guardian of my grandson's inherited estate. (His mother is the guardian of his person.) I will then have to return to court every two years to report on the status of the guardianship. In the meantime, NO ONE had authority to pay my son's final bills. It took seven months after my son died before I had legal authority to collect his credit union accounts, IRA, Roth IRA, and multiple 401(k) accounts, by which time several bills had already been sent to collection. All the legitimate bills have now been paid, and all known assets have been collected (the last, just a week ago). In July, I will transfer the balance of my son's estate into my grandson's guardianship. That will not end the hassle as I will have to report the status to the court for the next 12 years.

    I am thus on a campaign that every adult needs an estate plan. Even if you have no heirs, even if your estate is small, you need to provide binding instructions on how to handle your assets after you die.

    Before my son started actually dying of cancer, my wife and I started a complete overhaul of our own estate plans. With the exception of our IRAs and Roth IRAs, all our assets are in trusts. We each are the other's beneficiary of the IRAs and Roth IRAs, with the trusts the contingent beneficiary. The trusts require two trustees, currently my wife and me. If one of us dies or becomes incapacitated, the replacement trustee is already identified in the trusts. When we are both dead, the replacement trustee must appoint another trustee to have two. CONTINUITY IS VERY IMPORTANT. Our credit unions, bank, and mutual fund group all have copies of the relevant portion of the trust documents to ensure they accept this continuity.

    Now for the original question: In California, where my wife and I live, a bank safe deposit box is NOT sealed if one of us dies. The box remains available to the other persons who are listed at the bank -- with their signatures -- as having access to it, which includes our daughter and will eventually include our replacement trustee. The complete original documents for our estate plan are in the safe deposit box. Right now, I can see a ring binder with a copy. The replacement trustee has a copy. A list of all our accounts is in the safe deposit box. An inventory of our mutual funds (IRAs and Roth IRAs) is in the safe deposit box.

    In a sealed envelope in the safe deposit box are a floppy disc, a compact disc, and a printout of my OpenPGP public and private keys and my OpenPGP passphrase (the latter otherwise exists only in my brain). (I chose three media since I have no way to predict what formats might become obsolete before I die.) That envelope also contains a list of all my important Internet passwords, which are encrypted on my PC.

    I have an unencrypted list on my PC titled "Where Is It?" that describes where everything should be found: checkbooks, bank statements, insurance policies, durable powers of attorney for health care, mutual fund statements, deed to our house, etc. When I update this list, I E-mail a copy to our daughter; another copy is in the ring binder with our estate plan. Also in the ring binder is the paperwork for our purchase of burial plots.

IN MY OPINION anyone interested in improving himself should not rule out becoming pure energy. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.